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Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Questions on Shiloh

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  • John Beatty
    ... March 1862. Given the options available to him, I think attacking Grant before he linked up with Buell (and eventually Pope), was the best one. I think
    Message 1 of 118 , Jun 2, 2004
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      >I think Sid Johnston was in a pretty tough spot in
      March 1862. Given the options available to him, I
      think attacking Grant before he linked up with Buell
      (and eventually Pope), was the best one.

      I think choosing a place to make a stand with
      numerical parity between Corinth and Pittsburg Landing
      would have made a lot more sense. It was by no means
      inevitable in 1862 that the Union would be able to
      turn a strong position.

      >Sitting back and waiting to be beseiged in Corinth
      was, IMHO, merely awaiting inevitable defeat.

      But that wasn't nessesary, either. With the
      advantages on the side of the defense, especially if
      Van Dorn showed up, there was little chance for a
      sucessful Federal advance that spring.

      >By attacking, he had at least a chance to recover
      what had been lost in the previous two months, not
      just in terms of territory, but in terms of ASJ's once
      sterling reputation.

      Not a great deal of chance for that. That would mean
      fighting three battles (minimum) at near parity in
      that barren wilderness with lousy logistics and no
      control of the rivers, and on short rations, to boot.
      I'd have to say that Johnston may have prevailed once,
      maybe broke even the second time, but a third fight,
      against Pope and whatever was left.....I don't see it.

      >One of my pet 98% foundation-free theories is that
      Sid was going to defest the Bluecoats, or die trying.
      Either way, he goes from goat to hero.

      From what little we know of Johnston that's probably a
      fair assessment. He was give a real bag of scatology
      and expected to do miracles of fishes and loaves with
      it. I don't think anyone really expected a great
      deal, especially not Johnston.

      =====
      _________________________________
      John D. Beatty, Milwaukee Wisconsin
      AMCIVWAR.COM/AMCIVWAR.NET
      "History is the only test for the consequences of ideas"




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    • hartshje
      Carl, The British navy had two main problems going right up the Mississippi: 1) the sandbars at the mouth of the river precluded the larger warships from
      Message 118 of 118 , Jun 30, 2004
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        Carl,

        The British navy had two main problems going right up the
        Mississippi:

        1) the sandbars at the mouth of the river precluded the larger
        warships from entering the river, so only smaller warships could be
        used in any attack on Fort St. Philip (which is what happened, and
        they were repulsed). The sandbars were normally dredged during peace
        time, but during both the War of 1812, and the ACW, the blockade
        caused dredging to be suspended (at least until N.O. was captured).

        2) the British ships could ONLY rely on wind power, so once past the
        sandbars, the wind had to be just right to make their way upriver
        against the current. The British command estimated at least a week
        to travel the 100 miles upstream to the fort.

        Farragut's advantage, obviously, was steam power. His ships got
        through the sandbars by literally ramming them over and over until
        they broke through. Even so, the "Colorado" (Farragut's largest
        ship) could not get into the river. Also, when the forts were
        passed, the U.S. ships could travel faster against the current, which
        meant less time under the guns of the forts. Without that added
        advantage, IMO he would have been blasted back.

        I highly recommend an excellent book, "The War of 1812" by John K.
        Mahon. It is concise (386 pgs of text, 60 pgs of notes and
        bibliography), yet a quite detailed account of the entire war for
        anyone who is interested in finding out more about this relatively
        unknown and fascinating era of our past.

        Joe

        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...>
        wrote:
        >
        > . . . neither the Brits or the Yankees seemed to have contemplated
        > this for the assault on these forts. It seems to me that the forts
        > were first to be blasted into rubble before the infantry could
        > finish the job, as far as the Brits were concerned or as far as the
        > original Union plan went. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions.
        >
        > -- In 27927, "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
        > > Carl,
        > >
        > > I really don't think the forts had any effect on Butler's
        > > landing. I believe it was assumed by just about everybody
        > > (except Farragut) that the forts would have to be put out of
        > > commission before the navy could go upriver. That was going to
        > > be Butler's job if Porter's mortars weren't successful (which
        > > they weren't). Farragut seems to be the only one who believed
        > > they could "run" the gauntlet, making the forts pretty useless.
        > > It would be interesting to know if Farragut really knew how close
        > > the Rebs were to getting the "Louisiana" & "Mississippi" up and
        > > running, or if he just wanted to prove the navy could do it on
        > > their own.
        >
        >
        > Have trolled a bit and found nothing to indicate exactly what his
        > intel on this might have been. At
        >
        > http://www.multied.com/navy/cwnavalhistory/Index.html
        >
        > there are some reports on worrisome developments of rebel Ironclads
        > at N.O. that might find their way upriver, but nothing in the way
        > of what Farragut might have known just before attacking. Farragut
        > could be a bit impulsive, I think, but there is no reason to think
        > he would have wanted to contend with the forts and then tangle with
        > a Reb navy that had anything close to equity. I have to think the
        > Union Intel had the skinny.
        >
        > Carl
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